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Over 176,000 participants join Taiwan’s annual Pride Parade 2023, celebrating diversity with enthusiasm

On Saturday (28 Oct), Taiwan’s annual Pride Parade, celebrating “Stand with Diversity,” showcased vibrant colors and voices of solidarity, boasting over 176,000 participants and marking a significant LGBTQ+ event in the region.

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TAIPEI, TAIWAN: Despite initial unfavourable weather, Taiwan’s annual Pride Parade, themed “Stand with Diversity,” blossomed with vibrant colors and resounding voices of solidarity today. The Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association proudly announced an impressive turnout of over 176,000 participants, making the 2023 parade one of the most significant LGBTQ+ events in the region.

Chairman of the Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association, Little Whale (小鯨) reflected on the evolution from the previous year’s theme, emphasizing the vision for an inclusive society free from restrictive frameworks. “We envisage a society where diversity flourishes unbound, one where self-worth isn’t built on denigrating others, but on mutual respect and support,” Little Whale asserted. This inclusive approach transcends binary norms, embracing a broader spectrum of human experience.

This year, the parade adopted two primary routes, with participants filling the streets from Taipei City Hall, creating a sea of red, orange, yellow, purple, blue, and green that symbolized the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. Participants who walked the routes, extending over 3 kilometers, were greeted by enthusiastic members of the public and fellow participants along the road.

 

Notable groups led these contingents, including the Taiwan LGBT+ Hotline, various HIV advocacy groups, Amnesty International’s Taiwan sector, and educational and faith-based organizations. Companies such as Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and VietJet also joined the contingents. This coalition represented a wide array of societal sectors, all unified under the banner of diversity and inclusion.

Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te also attended the event, becoming the most senior government official ever to participate.

Leading opinion polls as a presidential candidate, Lai joined the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) delegation, signaling its stance as a bastion of liberal values. Speaking to reporters before joining the march around its midway stage, Lai expressed gratitude to those championing equality and the 2019 legalization of same-sex marriage, a cause President Tsai Ing-wen and the DPP have fervently supported.

“On this road, the DPP has always walked alongside everyone,” he stated, amidst the vibrant backdrop of the parade, including scantily clad dancers on a passing truck. “Equal marriage is not the end—it’s the starting point for embracing diversity. I will stand steadfast on this path.”

Unity Voiced through Art and Advocacy

Adding a layer of cultural poignancy to the event, musical duo, Neci Ken (南西肯恩) performed soulful melodies that reverberated across the gathering, their songs offering healing and warmth amidst the cool Taipei air. Further echoing support, artist Zheng Yinong, known for staunchly backing LGBT+ causes, delivered a heartfelt performance. Zheng expressed a contrasting sentiment to previous pride events, highlighting a sense of communal achievement and anticipating the influence of the parade to extend beyond the day’s celebrations.

This year’s Rainbow Ambassador, Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), made a sensational appearance in a form-fitting, sheer black outfit, adorned with the parade’s official badge. Her fiery performance included hits like “Can’t Stop,” “After the Rain,” “Love You,” and “9 Million,” with the well-known “Love You” prompting a mass sing-along among the crowd. Chen’s message was empowering, urging everyone to “listen to their inner voice and love themselves.”

Reflecting on her journey, Chen shared, “I’ve participated for three or four years now. I still recall being on a float last time, sweating profusely. Now, to be the Rainbow Ambassador, it feels like a dream come true.” She encouraged attendees to disregard malicious comments, emphasizing the importance of being at ease with oneself and recognizing everyone’s uniqueness.

Spotlight on Inclusive Advocacy: Voices Across Ages

In alignment with the theme, diverse groups vocalized their unique challenges and aspirations, accentuating the need for society’s wider understanding and acceptance. One poignant narrative came from the transgender community, outlining the harrowing ordeals individuals face due to current legal and medical procedures for gender affirmation.

Psychiatrist Xu Zhiyun (徐志雲), a veteran in the realm of LGBT+ advocacy, reminded the crowd that mental health struggles are inclusive of all, touching lives irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity. His experiences underscored the compounded adversities encountered by individuals within these communities.

In a particularly moving segment, the “Rainbow Babies” initiative shattered age barriers in advocacy. Children, in a mini-parade format, circled the event grounds, their banners and creative flags drawing attention and adoration. This initiative, according to Jiarong of the Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy, sought not only to involve children in societal advocacy but also to showcase the reality and normalcy of diverse families.

The 2023 Taiwan Pride Parade, with its record attendance, stands as a testament to the growing support and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community’s rights, signaling a progressive shift toward inclusivity and understanding on both a national and global scale.

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